Syria Crisis: Tears falling on a foreign land

News Stories, 12 June 2013

© UNHCR/S.Rich
When Hala crossed the border into Jordan, dragging a large black bag with all of her possessions, she let out a heart-wrenching sob.

TEL SHIHAB, Jordan, June 12 (UNHC) The tears are falling before Hala has even crossed the border. At the moment she enters Jordan, dragging a large black bag with all of her possessions, she lets out a heart-wrenching sob.

Nothing has prepared Hala for becoming a refugee. Now, with her eight children, her sisters and their little ones, she is far from her home in the city of Homs and her husband is still in Syria.

Today, UNHCR field staff are meeting new refugees on Jordan's northern border with Syria. Along with the Jordanian military, they comfort Hala's younger children and help carry their luggage away from the border near Tel Shihab.

After more than two years of vicious civil war in Syria, the soldiers at the border have seen daily flows of people crossing into Jordan. They know all too well the heartbreak, stress and trauma faced by those fleeing. More than 1.6 million Syrians have fled their country since March 2011 and sought shelter in neighbouring countries, including more than 470,000 in Jordan.

"We are all just so exhausted," says Hala. "My children are hungry and tired. We haven't had enough food for weeks and they have all seen more than they should. I worry for them. I worry for my country."

© UNHCR/S.Rich
Hala was moved to tears after crossing the border into Jordan.

Hala's youngest child, Hiba, is just six months old and the conflict in her homeland has been raging her whole life. Perhaps sensing her mother's fear and upset, tears roll down her rosy pink cheeks and catch in her long dark lashes. But, she doesn't make a sound and her siblings are equally quiet and watchful.

"We don't know what will happen to us now. I hope the fear will pass and that we will be safe now that we are in Jordan. But I also hope that the war will end and that we can go home again. I hope, Inshallah," Hala says.

Her resilience and strength are clear she has held her family together from Homs to Damascus, and now in Jordan she will do it again. Gently she wipes the tears from her face and, clutching the hands of children, moves off to find some space to rest before the next step of their journey to Za'atri refugee camp, which is now home to more than 100,000 refugees.

UNHCR has dedicated and compassionate staff working on the ground, around the clock, providing care, support and essential relief supplies to refugees like Hala. But, as the war in Syria rages on and thousands of people continue to arrive every day, the agency's resources are increasingly stretched.

Last Friday, UNHCR, other UN agencies and dozens of humanitarian organizations called on donor nations and other supporters to provide billions of dollars in additional funding to help the millions of desperate Syrians inside and outside their country. UNHCR and its partners need US$2.9 billion to help refugees in the surrounding region this year.

At this time, every donation will make a difference and a gift of just US$20 could help pay for mats to prevent two families from having to sleep on the ground. Refugees like Hala, her children and her relatives need your help today.

Please make a donation to the UNHCR Syria appeal.

By Kirsty McFadden in Tel Shihab, Jordan

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Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

As world concern grows over the plight of hundreds of thousands of displaced Syrians, including more than 200,000 refugees, UNHCR staff are working around the clock to provide vital assistance in neighbouring countries. At the political level, UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres was due on Thursday (August 30) to address a closed UN Security Council session on Syria.

Large numbers have crossed into Lebanon to escape the violence in Syria. By the end of August, more than 53,000 Syrians across Lebanon had registered or received appointments to be registered. UNHCR's operations for Syrian refugees in Tripoli and the Bekaa Valley resumed on August 28 after being briefly suspended due to insecurity.

Many of the refugees are staying with host families in some of the poorest areas of Lebanon or in public buildings, including schools. This is a concern as the school year starts soon. UNHCR is urgently looking for alternative shelter. The majority of the people looking for safety in Lebanon are from Homs, Aleppo and Daraa and more than half are aged under 18. As the conflict in Syria continues, the situation of the displaced Syrians in Lebanon remains precarious.

Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

Turkish Camps Provide Shelter to 90,000 Syrian Refugees

By mid-September, more than 200,000 Syrian refugees had crossed the border into Turkey. UNHCR estimates that half of them are children, and many have seen their homes destroyed in the conflict before fleeing to the border and safety.

The Turkish authorities have responded by building well-organized refugee camps along southern Turkey's border with Syria. These have assisted 120,000 refugees since the crisis conflict erupted in Syria. There are currently 12 camps hosting 90,000 refugees, while four more are under construction. The government has spent approximately US$300 million to date, and it continues to manage the camps and provide food and medical services.

The UN refugee agency has provided the Turkish government with tents, blankets and kitchen sets for distribution to the refugees. UNHCR also provides advice and guidelines, while staff from the organization monitor voluntary repatriation of refugees.

Most of the refugees crossing into Turkey come from areas of northern Syria, including the city of Aleppo. Some initially stayed in schools or other public buildings, but they have since been moved into the camps, where families live in tents or container homes and all basic services are available.

Turkish Camps Provide Shelter to 90,000 Syrian Refugees

Displaced inside Syria: UNHCR and its Dedicated Staff help the Needy

The violence inside Syria continues to drive people from their homes, with some seeking shelter elsewhere in their country and others risking the crossing into neighbouring countries. The United Nations estimates that up to 4 million people are in need of help, including some 2 million believed to be internally displaced.

The UN refugee agency has 350 staff working inside Syria. Despite the insecurity, they continue to distribute vital assistance in the cities of Damascus, Aleppo, Al Hassakeh and Homs. Thanks to their work and dedication, more than 350,000 people have received non-food items such as blankets, kitchen sets and mattresses. These are essential items for people who often flee their homes with no more than the clothes on their backs. Cash assistance has been given to more than 10,600 vulnerable Syrian families.

Displaced inside Syria: UNHCR and its Dedicated Staff help the Needy

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